By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Gershon Mendel Garelik, who was one of the first Shluchim of the Rebbe and has been a shining example for his dedication and love towards the Rebbe and fellow chassidim, has passed away on Shabbos, 1 Adar, 5781.
Rabbi Garelik was one of the first Shluchim sent by the Rebbe, and during his decades of Shlichus he brought many Jews back to Judaism. During his lifetime he merited many kiruvim from the Rebbe.
He was 88.
He was born 8 Iyar, 1932 to his parents, Rabbi Chaim Meir and Rebbetzin Rivkah Leah Garelik, who were sent by the Frierdiker Rebbe to spread Judaism in Crimea. As a child, he learned in the underground Yeshivas in Soviet Russia, and he emigrated with his family in 1947, first to Germany, and then on to Israel.
In 1949, they settled in the newly established village of Kfar Chabad, and he learned in Yeshivas Achei Temimim in Tel Aviv and Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim in Lod, with the Mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.
He later traveled to learn in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim – the Central Yeshiva at 770, led by Rabbi Yisroel Yitzchok Piekarski and Rabbi Mordechai Mentlik.
In Tammuz of 1958 he married his wife Basya, daughter of Rabbi Sholom and Rebbetzin Chaya Posner OBM, the pioneer Shluchim in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The wedding was held in the courtyard of 770 and they merited to have the Rebbe as Mesader Kiddushin at their Chuppah.
In Kislev of 1959, they embarked on Shlichus to Milan, Italy, and the Rebbe came out to escort his family as they set off. He was soon appointed as the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Milan.
During his decades of Shlichus there, Rabbi Garelik established a Chabad kehilla and a network of Mosdos, through which many thousands returned to Judaism.
In 1994, he spearheaded the building of the Bais Menachem building of Milan, a replica of 770 Eastern Parkway, which serves as the main headquarters of Chabad in the city.
Rabbi Garelik was a Shliach of the Rebbe in Milan, Italy for 61 years. During those years he brought thousands to their roots and built a network of Shluchim and mosdos throughout Italy, including Shuls, Mikvahs, Kosher restaurants and more.
Rabbi Garelik served as Av Beis Din of Kehilas Ohel Yaakov and one of the Rabbonim of Milan. He was the founder and director of the EK kashrus agency of Milan and founder of the Rabbinical Center of Europe.
He is survived by his wife Rebbetzin Bessie Garelik and children, Mrs. Rivky Hazan, Milan, Italy, Rabbi Levi Garelik, Crown Heights, Mrs. Soshi Shaikevitz, Milan, Italy, Mrs. Sori Krinsky, Crown Heights, Mrs. Chani Greenberg, El Paso, Tx, Rabbi Yossi Garelik, Crown Heights and Rabbi Moshe Garelik, Belgium.
He was predeceased by his siblings, Mrs. Yocheved Zalmanov, Mrs. Hadassah Perman and Rabbi Benzion Garelik.
The Garelik family will be sitting Shiva at 1468 Union Street (between Kingston and Albany Avenues) until sunday morning.
Shacharis: 9:30 am and 10:30 am
Mincha: 4:45 pm and 5:10 pm
Maariv: 6:05 pm
Visiting hours: 10:30 am-1 pm and 3-9 pm.
Friday Mincha: 1 pm (3 minyonim).
Sunday morning shacharis: 9 and 9:45
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes – R’ Gershon Mendel ben R’ Chaim Meir.